Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bookshelf: Julie Orringer



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It took me about a month to read Julie Orringer's "The Invisible Bridge" which is absolutely ridiculous. My typical turnover for a book is one to two weeks, unless it's a Gabaldon book, but "The Invisible Bridge" is difficult material and it gave me a bit of anxiety so I went slow. I picked it up on reccomendation from a coworker who said it was "amazing and a quick read". Then I found out The Wonderful Robby was planning on reading it as well so I dove in.
"The Invisible Bridge" is a story about love, family, coming of age, and the struggle to survive in the midst of WWII. It is mostly narrated by Andras Levi, who at the beginning of the book is setting out from his family's home in Hungary to study Architecture at the Ecole Speciale d'Architecture in Paris. It spans a decade, in which time the entire world changes.
You're read about WWII before. In school we read "Night" and "The Diary of Anne Frank", but I had never read about how the war affected Hungary. But to call this a book about WWII is to simplify so much and not do it proper justice. Yes, it takes place during the war, but it's about the friendships and relationships built prior to the war and how they withstood deportation, bombings, work camps, and unbearable horror. It's a story about love and compassion but of course it's also about the cruelty of human beings. Honestly, I don't think WWII became a prominent part of the plot until the final third of the book. The first two thirds were about Andras growing up in a different country, learning the language and trying to make ends meet while pursuing his dream of becoming an architect. Also, it's about Andras falling in love and how his relationship with Klara Morgenstern wove their lives and the lives of their families together into such a tight strand. I want to tell you it's a story about love but I don't want you to read that and think, ick, I hate love stories. It's not a mushy love, it's the kind of love that sustains you when you've run out of food in the harsh winter while you're being worked literally to the bone. It's the kind of love that never allows you to give up hope of finding your long lost loved ones. It's that kind of love. You really need to read "The Invisible Bridge".

My only qualm was with the foreign words that were mixed into the prose. But really what it comes down to is that I read to fast for my own good and words with too many consonants trip me up. So really it's not that big of a qualm. I should really learn to slow down and pronounce every single word.

On another note, when I got home last night there was a package from Amazon on my doorstep. Back in February I preordered "Abandon" (Meg Cabot) and "Your Voice in My Head" (Emma Forrest). I must have misread when ordering because I didn't think Forrest's book was coming to the U.S. market until August 2011. So imagine my surprise when the books showed up together. All I'm going to say is that I started it last night (when I should have just gone to sleep) and it's BRILLIANT. More on that later.

Happy reading!
~Stephanie
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1 comment

  1. I will admit that I read the first chapter and put the book down. I decided that I was going to save all books over 400 pages for the summer. When summer comes, I will probably save them for the fall, and so on. I'm still so excited to actually read this. Now it is just a matter of actually doing it.

    -Wonder

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